Close window
 Research Projects at the MPIfG

Coordination and Competition: Germany’s Solar Industry and the Search for a New Energy Order

Timur Ergen


 
Modern energy markets are in turbulence. Oil crises, nuclear disasters, disillusionment with fusion technology, and the awareness that burning fossil fuels is damaging the climate have created a socio-technical, political, and economic supply gap. There are no uncontroversial technological shortcuts for re-forming modern societies' energy supply, nor is there consensus on how to assess prospective energy systems. Empirically, the project departs from the widespread realization that a new energy order will be less the result of technical-bureaucratic decision-making than of contentious coordination between industrial, political, scientific, and other societal actors. How do market actors cope with these intricate processes and influence the socio-technical and political paths taken? The project explores these questions using an in-depth longitudinal case study of Germany’s solar sector. Conceptually, it contributes to a sociological perspective on economic competition. Seldom limited to firms’ struggles for positions in ready-made market orders, competition often emerges from contentious socio-technical, political, institutional, and cultural market structures. How can we theorize corporate engagement in these processes, how do they affect industrial organization, and how do they fit into a "social order of markets" approach? Project duration: October 2010 to April 2014.
 

 
Close window